Video Appears To Show Novak Djokovics Father With Pro Putin Fans At Australian Open

Video Appears to Show Novak Djokovic’s Father With Pro-Putin Fans at Australian Open

Video Appears To Show Novak Djokovics Father With Pro Putin Fans At Australian Open

Footage taken at the Australian Open appears to show Srdjan Djokovic, the father of the Serbian tennis star Novak Djokovic, posing with fans who were carrying Russian flags and symbols.

In the video, posted on a prominent pro-Putin YouTube account, Srdjan Djokovic is briefly seen alongside the fans, one of whom is wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with the pro-war “Z” emblem and carrying a flag featuring an image of President Vladimir V. Putin. Srdjan Djokovic says “Zivjeli Russiyani” to the camera — a phrase translated in the video as “Long live the Russians” — before walking away.

The video also shows the fans chanting the name of Mr. Putin, along with other nationalist slogans, before being detained by security.

Russian flags were banned from the Australian Open last week.

“Four people in the crowd leaving the stadium revealed inappropriate flags and symbols and threatened security guards,” Australia’s governing body for tennis, Tennis Australia, said in a statement on Wednesday. Police officers in Melbourne, where the tournament is held, had “intervened and are continuing to question them,” the governing body added.

Tennis Australia banned both Belarusian and Russian flags from the tournament, as well as items with the letter Z, after a courtside incident on Jan. 16 in which fans held a Russian flag aloft at a match between Kamilla Rakhimova of Russia and Kateryna Baindl of Ukraine.

But the events on Wednesday suggest that pro-Russian fans continue to flout the ban.

Photos taken at the men’s singles quarterfinal match between the Russian player Andrey Rublev and Novak Djokovic on Wednesday showed a spectator removing a garment to reveal a black T-shirt emblazoned with a “Z.” In the first months of the war, the Russian Defense Ministry said the use of that letter came from the preposition “Za,” from the Russian phrase “Za pobedu,” or “For victory.”

In line with the Australian government’s policy after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, players from Russia and from Belarus, which has been supportive of Moscow, have been permitted to compete at the Australian Open. But they are not allowed to do so as representatives of their countries, and the flags by their names on screens around the tournament have been removed or replaced by white boxes.

Two Belarusian players, Victoria Azarenka and Aryna Sabalenka, will compete on Thursday in separate women’s semifinal matches, raising the possibility of an all-Belarusian Grand Slam final in which neither player may represent her home country.

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